Requiem For A Vampire had a quiet yet profound effect on me. Late one night, years ago channel surfing, I came across a rather puzzling sort of film. Luckily I’d hit the movie from the title ‘Requiem For A Vampire’ and decided it was a great title and stuck with it.
It looked quite a cheap production but its atmosphere was like something from a dream. Castles, cold windswept corridors, dungeons, forests, ramparts and lots of naked ladies engaging in softcore frolics. Of course if you’re expecting the usual run of the mill vampire film or a Hammer-style number, think again! Needless to say, I became a fan of Rollin’s work, which admittedly goes up and down on the quality scale.
Rollin was a creative individual and worked throughout his career as an actor, novelist, director, producer, cinematographer and editor. Born in Neuilly-Sur-Seine (the posh part of Paris) in 1938, he started out as an editor working for a couple of documentaries with Claude Lelouch (Spielberg’s favourite French director) and can also boast of having made the first French gore film back in the day when he delivered the The Grapes of Death in 1978. Think of it as Sideways but with zombies. Or not.
As ever with film-makers working in the horror genre their creativity was often stymied by economic concerns. He continued to work throughout his career and earning himself a great reputation amongst horror connoisseurs and fans. Rollin’s films are definitely worth seeking out. I’ve still to see many of his films and that can only be a good thing. You’ve got to mine to find the gems after all.
Jean Rollin, 1938 – 2010.